Some Gambian female teachers in an interview disclosed to this medium that among the reasons they took the Covid -19 vaccines was to contribute their quota in stopping the spread of the virus by protecting themselves and their students from its transmission.
The government of The Gambia together with its partners have been working to control the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that vaccines are made available; massive sensitisation and for people to adhere to public health and social measures.
Raky Jallow, a lecturer at the Insight Training Centre, emphasised the importance of taking the Covid jab, saying she took the vaccine with the belief that it’s the safest preventive measure to stop the spread of the pandemic. She reiterated that it’s important to take the Jab as a teacher.
“I interact with a lot of students and not taking the vaccine could be dangerous to me and the students. The virus is highly transmitted and I encourage my fellow teachers to take the vaccines in order to protect themselves because they deal with a lot of students.”
Mrs. Jallow, however, advised the Ministry of Health to extend the vaccination to schools, adding that more sensitisation needs to be done to further raise awareness of students.
Ya Teneng Njie, a teacher at Kotu Munazamat Al Dawa Al Islamia Junior Secondary School, said taking the vaccine is to ensure a safe environment for teachers and students. She explained that teachers should take the vaccines without hesitation.
Madam Njie promised that she will take it upon herself to dialogue with her colleagues who are yet to take the vaccines in order to enlighten them on its importance.
For her part, Sabina Jobe, a teacher at Brusubi Upper Basic School, said she took the full dose of the Covid-19 vaccine because she believes that taking the vaccine would help protect them and their students.
Amie Bah, a teacher at St Mary’s Basic Cycle calls on the Ministry of Health to put more effort in creating awareness about the vaccine by engaging drama groups as well as Gambian Artists. She felt that entertainment is the fastest way to disseminate messages to the public.
Aja Kandeh, communications officer for the expanded programme on immunization at the Ministry of Health noted that as part of the efforts, the ministry classified teachers as one of the top priority groups from the beginning of the vaccination rollout. She emphasised that teachers are family managers and have contact with many students at schools who might serve as means of transmission to their families.
Madam Kandeh urged eligible persons to take the vaccines, stating it’s safe and effective against Covid-19. She continued that after the vaccination campaign, the vaccination will continue and can be accessible in all public health facilities across the country.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with its partners recently embarked on another round of a countrywide Covid- 19 vaccination campaign. The campaign is part of government strategy to scale up Covid-19 vaccination coverage to 70% of the population by the year’s end.
Currently, the country has three types of vaccines namely: AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson, and Sinopharm. The WHO and the Ministry of Health have assured that the vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe Covid infections, hospitalisation, and death. Despite significant gains in the reduction of Covid- 19 cases, the pandemic has continued to be one of the biggest challenges in the last two years.
This story was produced with support from Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), through its Mobilizing Media in the Fight Against COVID-19 in partnership with Kaba Communications and The Point.